Most of us start each year with a new set of resolutions. When January rolls around, many people vow to take steps to improve their fitness, spend more time with the kids or put away money for that holiday they never have the cash for.
At work, it’s worth making resolutions that improve productivity so that you spend more time on the enjoyable tasks in your day. The routine and schedule of the workplace often makes resolutions a little easier to keep, since habits develop and benefits are easy to see. Improving data quality is a great example of a resolution that bears fruit quickly.
Why the CRM Matters Most
After the Christmas break, you probably came back to the office looking forward to some items in your schedule and dreading the tasks that feel like a chore. That might include time working with out of date systems and unreliable information. If your data is messy and out of date, it will make your job much more difficult. That could affect productivity as you take on fresh projects in 2014.
So why highlight the CRM in a data quality article? CRM stands for ‘customer relationship management’, and therein lies the reason behind its importance. The CRM ties the organisation’s activities together in a single database: flexible, available, complete and accurate. At least that’s the theory; the data quality has to be good enough to support the ideal.
Every CRM system is continually reviewed, edited, updated and changed; it lives and breathes alongside your customers. As people move, change jobs, have families, change their names or pass away, the CRM system must continually be queried and edited. That means ensuring the quality of data in the CRM system at every stage.
Prioritising Data Quality
Everyone has a part to play in the data quality of a CRM. The lifecycle begins when a record is created, and then follows the evolution of the customer relationship through to eventual archiving or deletion.
At every touchpoint, there is a potential for data duplication, corruption, error, omission or flaw. It’s not enough to have a robust regimen for data capture. Records must be matched, merged and deduplicated using data cleansing software to ensure the pristine data you stored initially is well maintained.
Who Cares About the CRM?
Everyone in the organisation should be involved in improving data quality. And, in return for their efforts, everyone will reap the rewards.
Managing responsibility means ensuring every person should be aware of the data governance framework in the organisation and should be willing and able to work within it. By emphasising the benefits of compliance (and the risk of ignoring the problem), managers should be aiming to evangelise about shared responsibility for good data quality.
Working with data means developing good processes and continually working towards a common goal across the organisation. This makes data quality part of the culture of the business as a whole. So: if you are not already working on data quality continually and habitually, perhaps now’s the time to make that late resolution and improve the data in your CRM system.